Audi A5 Sportback Review (2012)
Audi A5 Sportback Review (2012)

Practicality in a posh suit is what makes the Audi A5 Sportback an appealing car. The Sportback is really an up-market name for hatchback, and this svelte five-door has the looks of a business executive express combined with the family-friendly practicality of a five-door five-seater car.

The previous model A5 Sportback was only available as a four-seater, which limited its appeal and meant that it did not sell as well as Audi would have liked. So this recently face-lifted model has been given some subtle visual tweaks and technical revisions, but the key upgrade is its availability for the first time as a five-seater model.

Fuel economy and CO2 output have been improved over the previous car, running costs have been reduced, the ride quality has been upgraded, and the fifth seat with an extra seatbelt is now optionally available. You can still have the car as a four-seater model, but the majority of customers are likely to go for the extra seat in the middle of the back row, adding an extra £220 to the price over the four-seat model which is continues to be available.

The A5 Sportback comes in a range of versions from 1.8 litre petrol with manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive to a three-litre diesel with S tronic auto and four-wheel-drive. Prices are from £25,845 for a 1.8 TFSi manual to £39,310 for a 3.0 TDi quattro S Line S tronic.

Performance

The engine in the car we tested is the latest version of the Volkswagen Group four-cylinder 1,968 cc turbodiesel unit with direct injection, driving the front wheels and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The power output is 175 bhp at 4,200 rpm, and the peak torque is 280 lb ft at 1,750 rpm. This gives the A5 Sportback powerful performance, capable of twice the British legal limit, with a top speed of 142 mph. The 0-62 acceleration time is a brisk 8.5 seconds.

Even so, the car is capable of good economy, with a combined fuel figure of 60.1 mpg, and the CO2 output is 120 g/km, putting it in band C for the annual road tax disc. That is pretty good for a car with this level of rapid efficiency and driving pleasure.

The car has a Drive Select menu by which you can vary its behaviour and sportiness. This now has an extra setting, efficiency, which you can use to optimise fuel economy by slightly dulling the throttle. Audi claims that the A5 Sportback is the most economical car in its class, and the combined fuel figure of 60 mpg is pretty impressive for a car with this level of performance.


Published : 15/08/12 Author : Sue Baker

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